Problematic Peninsula Plan

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Problematic Peninsula Plan

Dear Editor:

The re-zoning of the former Peninsula Hospital site is one of the most important issues facing the Rockaway community  and will be going before Community Board 14 in June, and many of the local politicians are hoping the community is not given all the details of the plan, misinformed or asleep at the wheel.

I have done a lot of research regarding this planned development, and have also written and spoken about how important this issue is to the future of OUR Rockaway community from east to west. Now the residents must act to oppose the CURRENT plan, so we can get something that will better benefit the community and local residents for years to come.

The Arker Companies wants to build a LARGE-SCALE DEVELOPMENT with 11 buildings, many as high as 19 stories, containing 2,200 units of housing on a small plot of land. This development would tower the NYCHA Ocean Bay Houses and add over 7,500+ NEW residents to the community. When done in 10 to 12 years, it will ONLY create about 300 jobs. It would also bring in around 1,500 NEW school-age children with NO school planned and would only provide parking for 754 units, which is less than 35%.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with affordable housing, as I myself have lived in affordable housing and know it can provide residents with wonderful opportunities. However, this development is being promoted to residents as a mixed-income  affordable housing development when it is the furthest thing from the truth. The current plan would provide NO units for middle income families and ONLY 13% of the units are for moderate income families, and 87% of the units would go to low, very low and extremely low income. Yes, residents will finally get a supermarket, which is a great thing, however, how are they going to provide people with opportunities, when this development will only provide a few jobs for 7,500+ new residents and further economically and racially segregate the Rockaway community, and continue the city’s approach of concentrated poverty.

Through the years, many Rockaway residents have been opposed to any type of change and/or development on the peninsula. This is NOT THE ANSWER to a better community! We should all embrace change when it is POSITIVE, and the redevelopment of this site CAN BE a good thing if done properly. However, the CURRENT redevelopment plan that has been put forth by the Arker Companies is NOT responsible and needs to be changed to ensure the negative impacts are minimized and the benefits being promised are greater.

This is our community and we have to live with the results, and they do not. It’s time for the Arker Companies to listen to the concerns of the community and go back to the drawing board and come back with a better plan that will benefit the people of the Rockaways and not just their bank account. If Rockaway residents want to keep updated on all the details of the development and latest updates, they should join the Facebook group: Coalition Against Peninsula Hospital Overdevelopment.

The real question I have is where are our local elected officials on this issue?? Why have they NOT come out against the current plan and demand changes to benefit the community?

Glenn DiResto


Return Memorial Circle

Dear Editor:

I went to the parade on Memorial Day, as I have done every year for the last 51 years, in order to pay my respects to the memory of my friend John P. McGonigal, who lost his life defending our country in Vietnam  in 1968. I was appalled to see that the NYC Parks Dept. had renamed Memorial Circle as Veterans Circle. This is not acceptable. Memorial Circle was established 72 years ago to honor the memory of those Rockaway residents who made the ultimate sacrifice in service of their country. In my opinion, to rename it for all who have ever served, belittles the sacrifice of our fallen. They deserve a special place of their own. The United States itself stands testament to those of us who answered the call and returned. We don’t need a special place. We live in one. Who or what gave the Parks Department the right to change the name?  Please change it back to Memorial Circle as was originally intended.

Ed Gormley


No to Shelter

Dear Editor:

People of Rockaway need to stand up and protest this homeless shelter that the de Blasio administration decided to dump in our neighborhood. It’s evidently noticeable that Rockaway has significantly improved in many aspects. We ALL must not allow this shelter to be built. This shelter will certainly deter families from wanting to move here...So fellow Rockawayites, let’s not make this happen, we need to take action. Perhaps, we need to go to Mayor de Blasio’s house and protest there every day.



Lasak for DA

Dear Editor:

As the primary season approaches, I urge registered Democrats to vote for Greg Lasak for Queens District Attorney on June 25.

Experience matters. Greg Lasak has served our county for over four decades as both a prosecutor and a Supreme Court justice, where he worked tirelessly to prevent crime and help victims obtain justice. He excelled in both of these positions just as he will as District Attorney.

The job of District Attorney should not be viewed as a reward for prior public service, nor should it be a position sought only because a career politician finds herself term-limited in her current office. You wouldn’t let a podiatrist perform brain surgery on you; why elect someone with no prior experience as a prosecutor to such an important role? Greg Lasak is the only candidate with the experience and skills to run the Office of the District Attorney from Day 1.

Additionally, Greg Lasak was the first and loudest critic of the plan to close Rikers Island and replace it with community jails. He advocates reforms to Rikers, but not at such a steep cost to the local communities and taxpayers. Rockaway has had more than its fair share of shelters, nursing homes and other facilities—I fear that the other DA candidates would not hesitate to consider our community as a viable alternative to Rikers in the future.

Electing the right DA is critical to keeping our neighborhoods safe. Greg Lasak is the best candidate for this role, which is why he has earned the endorsements of countless police and law enforcement associations, as well as numerous other unions. Please join us in our support for Greg Lasak. His election is critical for the safety of our neighborhood.

Jessica O’Sullivan


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